Remember the Roger Clemens appearance in front of congress earlier this year? It seemed as if his entire testimony hinged on his presence at or absence from a 1998 barbecue hosted by then teammate Jose Canseco. The congressmen obsessed over the party: If Clemens accuser McNamee was lying about Canseco’s guest list, perhaps he was lying about everything else. In his testimony, McNamee describes a fun afternoon spent “eating a sandwich next to Mr. Canseco’s pool” when he saw a woman with a “peach bikini with green in it and board shorts.” Struck by the woman, McNamee asked a fellow partygoer about her identity. He was told it was the Clemens’ nanny; moments later, he says, he saw Roger and Debbie Clemens go inside Canseco’s house. But Clemens says he was never there.

In the case of the Senator Obama’s buddy Tony Resko, there is a dispute about a party honoring Iraqi-born, London-based billionaire Nadhmi Auchi, who was visiting the United States at the time. The testimony is that the Democratic front-runner was at the party…but the Obamas say they weren’t there. While the Senator is not accused of any wrong-doing, this smells a bit:

Witness: Obama Attended Rezko Party Monday, April 14, 2008 4:59 PM

CHICAGO — The government’s star witness at the fraud trial of political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko testified Monday that he attended a party for a British billionaire at Rezko’s home, where Sen. Barack Obama and his wife also were among the guests.Attorney Stuart Levine testified that the party took place in April 2004 and was held to honor Iraqi-born, London-based billionaire Nadhmi Auchi, who was visiting the United States at the time.Rezko, 52, was a major fundraiser for Obama and Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and the trial has been closely watched because of Obama’s presidential campaign. But very little has been said about the senator thus far.Obama spokesman Bill Burton did not comment immediately.Neither Blagojevich nor Obama has been accused of wrongdoing.Rezko is charged with scheming with Levine to squeeze money management firms wanting state business for kickbacks and split a bribe. Rezko has denied that he took part in such a scheme.But his bond was revoked and he was jailed by the trial judge after federal prosecutors discovered a wire transfer of $3.5 million in 2007 to his attorneys from Auchi by way of a bank in Lebanon. Rezko had told Judge Amy J. St. Eve that he had no money, no way of getting money and was living off the charity of friends and relatives.Levine has pleaded guilty to the charges and taken the stand as the government’s star witness in hopes of getting a lenient sentence.Levine said very little about the party at Rezko’s home or Obama’s presence there.He said he had flown Rezko’s family back from Mexico the same day so that they would be in Chicago in time for the party.”Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn was there?” Rezko attorney Joseph J. Duffy asked.”Yes, Sir,” Levine answered.”Mr. and Mrs. Obama were there?” Duffy asked.Levine testified, however, that “the governor was a no-show.”

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Why does any of this Matter?

The first issue is the ties, if any, between Auchi and Obama. Back in February, the line from Team Obama was that these two never met, or at least Obama didn’t recall it:

Bill Burton, a spokesman for Mr Obama, told The Times: “The bottom line is Obama does not recall ever meeting him [Mr Auchi].”

It’s possible that Obama could attend a party for Auchi at Rezko’s house and never encounter Auchi. But it seems a little strange that Auchi wouldn’t encounter a young rising star in Chicago politics running for the Senate, and that Obama would never encounter the man who was the purpose of the party. The second issue is whether any money from Auchi helped the Rezko-Obama simultaneous house-and-adjoining lot purchase. Obama couldn’t afford both, and Rezko bought the lot; Obama later purchased part of the lot from Rezko.The third is who Auchi is. From that London Times article:

Mr Auchi was convicted of corruption, given a suspended sentence and fined £1.4 million in France in 2003 for his part in the Elf affair, described as the biggest political and corporate scandal in post-war Europe. He, in a statement from his media lawyers, claims he is appealing against the sentence. Mr Auchi founded his Luxembourg-based General Mediterranean Holding (GMH) in 1979, a year before he left Iraq. He says that he did business with his native country when it was considered a friend of the West but ceased to trade with the late Saddam Hussein’s regime once sanctions were imposed after the invasion of Kuwait…. Both Mr Auchi and Mr Obama say they have no memory of meeting each other. But, according to a source, the two may have had a brief encounter at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago where Mr Auchi’s visit was being honoured with a dinner attended by the Governor when Mr Obama, coincidentally in the hotel, dropped in. An aide to Mr Obama said he did attend an event at the Four Seasons at which Mr Rezko was present but does not remember meeting Mr Auchi. “He shook a lot of hands and met a lot of people,” the aide said. “We do not remember individual people.”

Others, however, have suggested much more sinister ties around Auchi:

“The name Nadhmi Auchi was just another name for Saddam’s intelligence service, or so we thought,” said Nibras Kazimi, a former Iraqi dissident who is now a visiting scholar at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C..

A Chicago politician is almost guaranteed to be connected to some strange characters, but if all of this pans out, a tie to Saddam’s intelligence service would be a new one…
Source :So What Does It Mean That Obama Attended the Party For Auchi?

 
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